I have been enjoying Lost this season, and last week’s Ben-centric episode revealed much new and interesting information, while also continuing the trend of creating new questions. Here’s an assessment of what we know, or in some cases think we know (or what I think I know), about the various characters and plots.
- He keeps a gun stowed away in his piano bench. That’s handy. When you’re Ben, you never know when you’ll need to switch gears from Mozart to a massacre.
- He can handle himself in a fight. I don’t recall seeing him show off his combat moves before now, only his smooth and creepy skills of manipulation.
- The mercenary guys who attacked Locke’s happy camp wanted to take Ben alive. My guess is that Charles Widmore hired them to force Ben off the island, since Charles thinks it is rightfully his. Or maybe it’s more complicated than that. Maybe Charles needs Ben because Ben has a mystical connection to the island that he lacks. If that’s the case, maybe Locke is the person he should be commandeering, since the island is always speaking to Locke.
- He is a hired assassin who, apparently, travels through time to do his dirty work (he had to verify what year it was when he checked into his hotel in Tunisia). But who does he work for?
- He really does love “his” daughter Alex. How hard was it to watch her get shot and killed? Michael Emerson did a fantastic job of conveying Ben’s emotional chain reaction during those tense moments when Alex was held at gunpoint and was ultimately killed. His facial expressions went from resolute to nervous to shocked to grief-stricken in a matter of seconds.
- Ben can summon the black smoke monster to do his bidding. How fun is the secret passageway in Ben’s house? I always wished I had one of those. I’d love to know how his encounters/conversations go with the black smoke. Is it a few pushes of a button, a phone call, or a face to face pow wow?
- “Once you let your grief become anger, it will never go away. I speak from experience.” Is he referring simply to Alex’s death, or does Ben’s anger stem from feelings of guilt and grief over his mother dying after giving birth to him? Maybe that’s a stretch. But, it makes sense that Ben would become a vigilante after Alex’s death. But again I ask, who is he working for? Himself? Jacob? Someone else?
- He’s coming down with something and prescribing himself antibiotics. Apparently the whole purpose of his conversation with Kate about his sickness is to set up next week’s episode, in which we are supposed to believe that Jack is on the verge of death. I hope it’s not a filler episode…
- It amused me that everyone just referred to the dead guy who washed up on the beach as “the doctor from the boat.” His death brings up more interesting questions of the time disparity between the island and the boat, since the people on the boat insisted that “the doc is fine” when Daniel made contact with them.
- His throat was slit, so someone murdered him. Was he another casualty of the crazies that are running rampant on the boat, or was this a premeditated act?
- When Daniel sent a message to the boat asking “What happened to the doctor?” we learned that Bernard knows morse code. These secondary characters have to be useful for something, right? I wasn’t surprised that the “rescuers” lied about something else. Daniel wanted the castaways to believe that the helicopters were coming in the morning, when in fact they never intended to send them. And of course the people on the boat wouldn’t know what happened to the doctor, because in their time, it hasn’t happened yet. This gets very confusing…
- He managed to track down Nadia after years of searching, and he married her. How sad that she was then murdered in Los Angeles by a man with an apparent connection to Charles Widmore. I can’t figure out what’s up with that. Maybe Charles is trying to strongarm anyone who has a connection to the island into helping him find it?
- Sayid has quite the sixth sense about being watched. During the funeral procession he sensed Ben’s eyes on him, even though he was high above on a rooftop. Maybe the island told him to look up. 🙂
- We learned how Sayid started working with Ben as an assassin. He felt he had nothing else to live for, so now he is living for revenge. Poor Sayid! It’s strange that Sayid and Ben now have something in common – extreme grief and the need for revenge. I wonder if the previous Sayid-centric episode showed us Sayid’s first kill, the guy on the golf course. Who are these people on the list? The best idea I have is that they are people who are a threat to the island.
- She survived, for the moment, only getting a little rattled by the explosion that rocked her house on the compound.
- A little foreshadowing: when Claire said “I’m a bit wobbly, but I’ll live,” Miles the psychic said “I wouldn’t be too sure about that.” We already know that Aaron makes it back to the mainland, but Claire doesn’t. This is more confirmation that Claire dies on the island.
- Sawyer doesn’t know who Jacob is. In fact, Sawyer is out of the loop on a lot of things, including who Charles Widmore is. I think he’s “inner circle” enough that Locke should share some of this crucial info with him. But now that Sawyer and Claire are headed back to the beach, I guess Sawyer will stay in the dark.
- Hurley is the only one who can locate Jacob. I wonder why that is. Ben used to know how to find him. What changed?
- Jacob is “the man who’s going to tell us what to do next,” according to Ben. All signs suggest that Jacob is the Protector of the Island and Its Rightful Inhabitants. Remember the list of worthy crash survivors from season one?
“He Changed the Rules”:
- When Ben said this, after he watched his own daughter be killed, my first thought was that he was talking about Jacob. That would make sense, since Jacob seems to control events on the island. I figured that Jacob had promised Ben that nothing would happen to his daughter. But, apparently, Ben was talking about Charles Widmore. Perhaps they made a pact to not harm each others’ families in their quest for island domination? Doesn’t really make sense to me, but okay.
The Black Smoke:
- As a result of the rule changing, Ben decided to set loose this nifty weapon on the soldier guys. It took care of the problem, killing them all (we assume) swiftly. Is it just me, or was the smoke monster much bigger this time? Maybe Ben cranked up some “super strength” lever to make sure the job got done. When was the last time we saw the black smoke? Was it two seasons ago when Mr. Eko died? I wonder what this island monster has been up to since then.
Benjamin Linus vs. Charles Widmore:
- I’ve already discussed the significance of “he changed the rules” above. There’s obviously a power struggle going on between these two men. I wonder if we’ll ever have more back story to explain it.
- “I need you to take a message to Mr. Widmore for me.” These were Ben’s last words to Ishmael, the man who killed Nadia. Unfortunately, we don’t know what the intended message was, because Sayid shot and killed Ishmael before Ben could finish his statement. Was the “message” going to involve Ben going all Rambo again, taking Ishmael’s gun, and shooting him (sending the message that Charles can keep sending people out, but Ben will keep defeating them), or was it an actual verbal message, like “you’ll never find me and my island!”
- Charles keeps a bottle of scotch by his bed now, ever since “the nightmares started.” I imagine Jacob and the island have something to do with those.
- I hated to hear that Ben plans to kill Penelope Widmore to get revenge on Charles for his involvement in Alex’s death. I like Penny, and I love Desmond. I don’t want to see him suffer. 😦
- “That island’s mine, Benjamin. It always was. It will be again.” With these words Charles declared ownership of the island. But Ben replied, “But you’ll never find it.” I don’t get how the soldier guys found the island if Charles can’t. Is Jacob preventing Charles from finding it?
- “Then I suppose the hunt is on for both of us.” These were Charles’ words to Ben, in reference to Ben’s hunt for Penny and his hunt for the island. It will be fascinating and nerve-wracking to continue watching these two powerful adversaries.
It’s sad that we only have four more episodes this season, but hopefully they will give us plenty to discuss until next January’s fresh batch of episodes.